Now That It’s Cool To Be Indian

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Something odd that has been brought to the surface recently is how things taken from Indian culture that once evoked responses of disgust are now “cool”. I read a post on the Facebook group #SubtleCurryTraits about how the stereotypical “white girl” who years earlier considered turmeric disgusting in “yellow rice”, now adds tumeric to their chai teas for the “health benefits”.

Well, the tide has turned. The teenage heart throb of my youth, Nick Jonas, chose to marry the stunning, Priyanka Chopra. But despite this change in heart by America as a nation, I’d argue that things really aren’t better. You must be thinking- isn’t this sudden love of all things Indian supposed to be great news? Indian culture may now be “in” but the truth is that I still know too many Indians who are ashamed of their culture, petrified of being labeled a FOB and are unable to erase the years of shame that we’ve associated with being Indian because of pop culture’s previous narrative. A message in which the worth or lack thereof, of an India in media was communicated by the void of people who looked like me on television shows, ads or magazines
and honestly, even within India’s own media that continues to refuse to include women of medium or darker shades on media platforms.

We still live in the same country in which I heard the white kid next door telling me that my people should get out of his white neighborhood. There are still people who are told that they smell like “curry”, presumably from people actually knowing what curry smells like. Or you still find the white guys on dating apps who only like Indian girls and treat an entire people group as a fetish. This leads to whole groups of desi people who refuse to engage in anything that associates them with their culture. Forbidden activities include but are not limited to: eating with their hands, being caught speaking their mother tongue or even spending a week in India.

The truth of the matter is that it’s not actually cool to be Indian. It’s only cool in the same way that people like dressing up on Halloween or decorating their Christian tree once a year, it’s exoticized. But even when this fad changes, I’ll still wearing my lengha blouses mixed and matched with American gowns. I’ll still try to rock my lengha skirt with a button down and my salwars pants with American tops. Because just as much as I identify as an American as my nationality, I am still and will always be Indian and that doesn’t need to be cool to you. It’s me.

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Confidence & Clothes

*See the original post on Instagram*

In retrospect this outfit was beautiful. But I honestly felt so ‘extra’ wearing it until I reached the area by the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). Near FIT, everyone was wearing the most creative things and you almost stuck out more plain old clothing.
I asked my friend Lauren about how she is so darn confident and one thing she taught me was how when picking between a safe sunglass look and a bold one, she chose the bold one. Part of confidence meant being okay with sticking out.
As a minority and as someone tall-ish, I always feel seen and rarely try to attract more attention. Everyone knew the one of ten brown kids in school.

But I’m learning now that it’s okay to stick out, it’s okay to be noticed and be seen if it’s for reasons that are authentic to you. Time to try out bold outfits more often I guess. 😅

📷: @mallariproductions

 

Shopping Diaries: March 2019

Screen Shot 2019-04-03 at 6.52.52 PMI was inspired by Sophiewithablog to start documenting my monthly purchases in hopes of being more aware of my spending and maybe even make some changes to how I shop. This month I will only talk about clothing purchases but I can definitely talk about beauty/selfcare + home decor in the future if this is of interest to you. (I bought a rug this month!) 

The details (What I bought and kept)

Note: I don’t have pictures of me with the items but for future months, I will. 

Anthropologie Skirt ($29.99)

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I met up with some college friends by Chelsea market and I was a little early so I stopped by Anthropologie. I impulse bought the most beautiful mug and started eying a mustard skirt with floral print when my friend called. We left the store but I didn’t forget the skirt and instead tried to find it online the next day. I didn’t, but I did find this gorgeous skirt and I’ve already worn it at least 3 times. That’s $10 per wear within a month, I’m sure I’ll get my money’s worth from this one. It’s super cute to pair with tall boots but is also classy to wear with regular old heels. Also, mustard has this amazing quality of being universally flattering on all skin shades, am I right?

Lulu Lemon Leggings ($80.36)

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Did you know that you can get 20% off of your purchase of Lulu Lemon leggings on National Woman’s day? I was pleasantly surprised to see my bill drop $20 when I bought these leggings.

I definitely recommend trying them in the store. A friend recommended I do a squat test, and really try them out and make sure they fit well. I initially went for some classic styles but the sales associate quickly recommended the Align leggings when I mentioned that I mostly workout with Orange Theory. A lot of their leggings are made for Barre or Yoga class and wouldn’t hold out well during intense runs, rowing and weight lifting.

These leggings feel amazing. I got a size 8 and my only real complaint is something I deal with often with leggings. They fall down when I’m really running. I also did experience some chaffing with them when I jogged for around 20 minutes.

‘Elevate Shirt’ ($18.00)

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Fun fact about me, I used to hate ‘group shirts’. I later realized that I was needlessly being difficult and decided to be okay with buying t-shirts for events or clubs. I just set my limits. I won’t buy every shirt, I won’t even take every shirt for free. I really don’t need a new shirt each year for an annual event. But if it’s for an organization I care about, maybe 1 shirt is okay? I’m a huge fan of long sleeve cotton tees and I have been wearing this shirt at home to death. It has become my favorite pajama and occasional shirt out. I ended up cropping it and love wearing it with high waisted leggings at home.

 

The details (What I returned) 

Jimmy Choo Heels (The Real Real) ($17 return fee)

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I’m always on The Real Real. I love buying used because it’s more sustainable than always buying new and I have a love for high quality items. I just can’t swallow the prices for luxury shoes. I’m not about paying $600 for shoes. But I can appreciate beautiful craftsmanship and after reading about Jimmy Choos, I decided they’re be worth it if I could find a pair for under $150.

This pair was $85 but when I got them, I had to squeeze my feet in and the heel was so high. Much higher than the picture indicated to me! I really wanted to justify keeping them. The craftsmanship really was superior. They were gorgeous and even used, they were in excellent condition. But what’s the point of spending all that money for shoes that aren’t absolutely perfect for you? They were returned.

The numbers

$135.45= March’s Total

3= Number of items added to my closet in March

Final Thoughts 

Honestly, I really didn’t spend a crazy amount. I think these diaries need to begin to include other purchases in the future because as a whole, I did some spending in March- just not on clothes. I’m really happy with all of the items I did end up purchasing and feel as though they’ll all remain in my closet for some time.

I’d love to challenge myself to buy less of fast fashion and buy more from sustainable brands that might be pricier but also sell costlier items or even just spend a little more on pieces that I know will last me a while. I can’t believe this reflection is inspiring me to spend more! Surprise?

How was your spending for March? Let me know in the comments below.

Nina

The Dress That Doesn’t Fit

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*See the original post on Instagram*

Fun fact: The dress I’m wearing here was thrifted for less than $30. It seemed like such a steal, it still had the tags on and was from Nordstrom. I bought in on a whim, assuming it would fit me. Another fun (or not so fun) fact, it doesn’t. It zips halfway and then meets the point of no return and lies open. The two halves of the zipper just decided that they refused to meet and the distance between them was too large to travel.

In the past, when I put on clothing, I felt as though it was my responsibility to fit in my clothes. That my body should change to meet the demands of changing fabric.

“When I lose weight, I’ll wear those pants”

“I’ll fit that dress after I start working out”

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Newsflash, I now eat (pretty) clean and workout regularly but as I tried my best to zip up this dress I realized that it just wouldn’t fit, that it may never fit. That my torso is the smallest part of my body. That it’s pretty much as small as it can get for me while still being healthy and that even if I lost more weight, my naturally medium frame would need to be smaller to fit that dress.

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So I decided to be okay with this dress not fitting. To be content with the fact that my bones and chest are broader than this dress is willing to wrap around. Instead of running after an unattainable and likely unhealthy perfect, I decided it’s okay for me to love my body even if it would never be a size 2 or 0. That maybe it means there’s just more of me to love.

She Gets It From Her Mama

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In honor of Mother’s Day I thought I would share six of the best things I have inherited from my mama. Not everything we learn from our parents is good and there is lots of room for growth in reflecting and changing, but I believe we are placed in certain homes for a reason and I feel so grateful for my mother. Whether we realize it or not, our parents have a huge influence on us and these are some of the ways my mom has impacted me for the better.

1.Don’t let others label you 

I was recounting a story to my mother about a friend’s birthday. Three of my friends attended together and didn’t know the rest of the people at the party. We left the dinner as a group and in passing I commented that it so surprising that all of the people at our friend’s party were so darn good looking. To which my friend replied, “yeah- what were we doing there?” It was a passing joke but it unearthed an insecurity I didn’t realize I had. I tried not think much about it and told my mom the story during one of our usual phone calls. In that moment she told me, “No, don’t let her label you.” And that’s something she has always taught me. Others may want to decide I’m “less than” for whatever reason but my mom has always made me feel like I am worth something.

Years ago in high school, my mom provided the same guidance to a friend of mine. This friend was heavier and we were talking about senior photos and she said something along the lines of how she didn’t want to take too many pictures and take up too much time and seemed insecure because of her weight. My mom told her that she should never be afraid to take up time. She should go there, dress up and take as many photos and she wanted to. My mom refused to think that something like weight should be the reason why she didn’t enjoy her senior photos.

2. Your opinion matters

For as long as I was able to speak, my mother has always asked me what I thought. Granted, she doesn’t always want to hear my opinion and has told me to shut it but whether she likes it or not 😉  she has fostered a natural desire in me to share my ideas. I have learned to speak up at church if something didn’t feel right. I have never entered a conversation feeling like I don’t have something of worth to contribute. In fact, I was so surprised to learn that many people don’t feel like they have something to share in groups settings. I have always learned the value of my thoughts. My mom has taught me that my ideas are worthwhile and often asks me for advice. I think because I was raised to believe I knew something, somewhere along the way I began to share ideas of worth. (Or at least I think they’re important!)

3.  Love those who love you 

Growing up, I naturally wanted to always be friends to with the popular people. My mom always stopped me and said- love those who love you. From that advice I have found the most loyal friends and never found myself trying to be friends with someone who didn’t care for me. I’ve never chased after friendships but instead look to the people who watch out for me.

4. Slow down. 

I am so impulsive. If I decide I’m angry at someone, I throw a fit. I want to thrown in the towel on something I’ve worked hard for. Again and again I’ve learned to wait before my big grand decisions and think through my decisions. I’ve learned the 24 hour rule before sending an angry letter. I am reminded again and again to be patient and slow down.

5. Never leave the house without a good lip color and some mascara 

Everyday, my mom wakes up at 5am. She does her makeup, put on her clothes that she has ironed and planned out a week in advance. She takes time slowly in the morning, enjoys breakfast and shows up early to work. I’m more of the type of person to wake up with 30 minutes to get ready when I really need an hour and rush out the door, making it to work with a minute to spare.

But regardless of our differing morning routines, one thing I’ve always learned from her is presenting myself well. I don’t always succeed and there are days I get lazy but I’ve never seen my momma out in public like a mess. She never let me go out without perfectly groomed hair and a cute outfit. Things went awry when I started dressing myself… But I still learned the basics of good style from her.

6. Trust in God 

I am a natural worry wart. I constantly share my concerns, to which my mom has always responded, trust in God. Will I be able to pay for _____? Trust in God. Will I get this job? Trust in God. Will everything work out? Trust in God. It’s hard to understand fully but this advice offers my natural worrying nature a feeling of peace. I can always trust in God.

I am so grateful for my mom! What lessons have you learned over the years? Comment down below. I hope you had an amazing mother’s day.

 

Should Christian Women Dress Modestly?

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I first found out about Girl Defined‘s ministry because a guy friend of mine shared a video that they made on Christian modesty. He wrote something along the lines of how as a man, he appreciated when his Christian sisters dressed modestly for their Christian brothers. At the time, I replied that it wasn’t a woman’s responsibility to dress modestly for men, that they made their own decisions and such a mentality leads to victim blaming and other unhealthy patterns of thinking.

We later spoke and clarified what we each meant, a lot of which was misunderstood, but the topic of modesty and whether Christian women should dress modestly has always left me feeling confused and became something I really struggled to understand. I now follow and value Girl Defined’s ministry but I initially found their video and view on modesty unsettling. Ultimately, modesty is an issue of the heart and we should be careful to make “black and white” rules regarding how women and/or men should dress. 

I’ve mentioned my conservative Christian upbringing before on this blog. I’m grateful for how I was raised but I believe one mistake of the church as a whole was stressing modesty without explaining why because the reason why we do something can be just as important as what we choose to do.

Modesty begins at the heart 

I remember going clothing shopping with my mother and just hoping she would be okay with a cute pencil skirt that went just above the knee. I knew that any tank top purchased would require a cardigan. I spent summers in sweltering heat in capris because shorts were seen as way too revealing.

But because I learned that certain things were not allowed without much rationale as for why, I went into college kinda reckless in terms of what I thought was appropriate attire. I use the word reckless loosely. Not only did I show a lot of skin at times, but I didn’t even dress for the weather. I wore spaghetti strap dresses in the winter if it was the fastest thing I could find before heading to class. I didn’t think or care much about what I wore and later on in life enjoyed receiving attention for stylish outfits. I reveled in the freedom of wearing whatever I wanted but wasn’t all too modest in the sense of not drawing attention to myself.

We are quick to recite 1 Timothy 2:9, “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes,”, forgetting the other plea to not draw attention to ourselves with “luxurious” items. The heart of modesty directs us in vs. 10 to instead, “but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.” Meaning, we shouldn’t be known but we do, not how we look. 

There are no hard and fast “rules” 

It can feel natural to make rules. Growing up, not wearing sleeves was considered scandalous. I always needed to cover my knees. But beyond that, it didn’t really matter what I wore. It took me a long time to realize that I could be completely covered but possibly revealing too much if my clothing was too tight and losing the entire point of “covering up”.

If you look at Genesis 2 & 3, you are shown the story of Adam and Eve. Genesis 2:25 reveals that, “Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” It was only after sinning that they desired to cover themselves in Genesis 3:7,  “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”

Adam and Eve in their sinlessness, were naked. It can be tempting to assign certain rules for how to dress for ourselves and others- but ultimately we must individually weigh our decisions.
 
How we dress is just one part of who we are, an important for me as someone who enjoys dressing up and expressing myself through fashion. But how we dress can also be a way of showing our honor and respect to God while also drawing others to look at who we are rather than what we look like.

 

Wardrobe Basics

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Excuse the spelling error for jewelry!

 

For this week’s video, I’m sharing some wardrobe basics that I personally find so essential in my daily wardrobe. Watch the video of me explaining my picks by clicking here! Below the  YouTube video you’ll also find links in the description with some recommendations to specific products. jewelry